Issue: Spring/Summer 2013
Faculty Innovation - Music
Amanda (Young '01) Cox
Assistant Professor of Composition Studies
I met my friend David Davies on the first day of our freshman year in the depths of the basement of the library for Dr. King’s class, Music in Christian Perspective. As we began to think and talk about music and how it relates to our faith, we couldn’t have realized that 15 years later, we would be composing and performing music together as colleagues at Houghton College.
One of the challenges facing composers today is finding a way to make use of one’s gifts outside of academia’s aesthetic “ivory tower.” This is especially so for the young Christian composer seeking to function within the body of Christ and maintain a faithful Christian presence in the broader musical community. With this challenge in mind, Professor Davies established the New Song Composer Residency for Houghton College students.
The residency pairs a gifted Houghton College music composition major with two church congregations. The student composes two original works to be used in worship services and interacts with the music directors of the participating congregations. This provides an essential “real world” music-making experience. As the worship director at Houghton Wesleyan Church, I was excited to participate in the inaugural year of the residency with Houghton senior Anne Nickerson.
Professor Davies has provided an important opportunity for young composers to enter into the life of the church and discover how their gifts can be used to glorify God and lead His people in worship. It is a valuable step in the necessary, sometimes difficult, and ultimately rewarding process each composer must negotiate as he or she discovers how his or her voice can best serve the Lord and His people.